The First World War - barbed wire, mustard gas, thousands of fresh-faced young men dying in muddy fields - and some of the most shameless propaganda ever produced. "The War Illustrated" is an entertainingly biased contemporary magazine that ran from August 1914; I'll be following their publication schedule every Wednesday from August 2007 with weekly updates (providing I manage to keep up) to show the progress of the war and the magazine's changing attitudes as the conflict dragged on.

Note - to see larger versions of the pages, just click on the images.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Week 3 - The Advance of the Russians - War in the Balkans - The Propaganda begins in earnest

"The Smiling Courage of our Wounded Heroes"

The Russian "Steam-Roller" - The Mighty Military Engine of the Tsar

A Brilliant Description of the 3,000,000 Army that is now rolling across the Eastern frontiers of Germany and Austria, by F. A. McKenzie
"Last year the danger became still more vital. Germany launched a new scheme of military expansion, voting an increased expenditure of fifty million pounds, and an addition of three army corps to her forces."

" In estimating Russian fighting capacity during this war, one important thing must not be overlooked. During the Japanese War Russia was hampered at every turn by revolutionary agitation. The Poles seized the opportunity to attempt to wrest their independence; the Finns were in a state of seething unrest; the Social Democrats throughout the Empire were working for red revolution. The very workmen of St Petersburg were seeking to an opportunity to overthrow the Tsar.
Now all is changed."

The Tsar's Leviathan Legions Move on Germany

"The braggart vapourings of the Pan-German party have stirred in the Slav races the same instinct of self-preservation as the menace of the big, growing German fleet excited in Britain."

The Cossack - The Grey Nightmare of Germany

"Far from being terrible in character, the Cossack is the gayest and most lighthearted of Russians"

"The merely laying waste the ripening wheatfields of Eastern Prussia [and] has arrived in the nick of time to prevent the richest store of food supplies in Germany being gathered and sent to Berlin, Dantzic, and Königsberg."

Heroes of Mons back again in England

"HMS Highflyer, which sank the Kaiser Wilhelm off the coast of Africa. "Bravo, Highflyer!" "wirelessed" the Admiralty."

With the French Army near the Battle Front

"The use of the machine-gun, the most murderous of the smaller weapons of modern war."

Victorious Serbs Prepare for Greater Servia

Austria's Cowardly Bombardment of Belgrade

British Reinforcements for the Allied Armies

"The sturdy sons of the Scottish Highlands setting out for the new battlefields of France"

Building up our Army on the Continent

"Troops entraining for a southern seaport."

[Interesting - the word "entrain" came up in a crossword puzzle recently but this is the first time I've ever seen it used in print.]

Furious Charge of British Cavalry at Mons - The Uhlans get the Surprise of their Lives

"Riding with tremendous dash, our men met and cut down the torturers of little children, and swept them from the field"

[Cavalry charges even! The concept of modern warfare hadn't quite occurred to anyone yet]

British Marines to the Rescue of Ostend

Sad Friends and Sullen Foes within Our Gates

Britain's Armada Awaits the Shy German Fleet

"Without a blow, without a word, the silent, invisible British Fleet, under Admiral Jellicoe, has won the most amazing victory in naval history."

[I could swear that biplane looks painted in...]

Forts and Citadels Now in the Thick of War

Albert the Brave, Defender of Civilisation

Grim and Gay - Among Our Belgian Allies

The Last Stand of the Defenders of Liege

Prancing Prussians Performing the Goose-Step

Horrible Stories of German Fiendishness

"Just as ridiculously barbaric as the "cake walk" of the negroes, is the prancing movement with which the German army paraded in triumph through the undefended city of Brussels."

[It can't be coincidence that the serious anti-German propaganda begins in earnest at the same time as the German occupation of Brussels. The previous two weeks' entries were happy to mock the Germans for being incompetent and disorganised, but now they're winning a few battles, we get the tales of their evil ways and stupid walks... the cake walk reference is particularly funny as this was developed as a parody of European-style ballroom dancing.]

What German "Civilisation" is Worth

"...the Teutonic savages are still guarding the ruined scene of their atrocities"

Germany's Empty Triumph in Brussels

How the War Wages

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Week 2 - The Empire Mobilises - First British troops land in France

"Have you seen any Germans pass this way?"

The Rally of the Empire

How the Overseas Dominions are standing by the Motherland: A Stirring Chapter in the History of the Great War

Expressly written for "The War Illustrated" By Sir Gilbert Parker, MP

"The heart of Europe is laid bare, and we can see its fierce pulsations and know whereof it is made; but also the hearts of the Overseas Dominions have been laid bare, and we know, without peradventure, that they throb in unison and in purpose with Great Britain and also Ireland, thank God!"

Antwerp - Belgium's Last and Mightiest Stronghold

Red War Among the Golden Cornfields

[Belgians with straw in their hats - the art of camouflage was still in its infancy...]

Belgian Rear-guard Covering Retirement

How Brussels Prepared to Succour the Wounded

Belgians' Pitiable Flight before the Invaders

The Wake of Ruin Behind the German Advance

The Terror let loose on the Fair Land of Belgium

"A month ago Belgium was a land of lovely, dreamlike towns, smiling fields of harvest, and busy, industrial centres. Now many of her bravest sons lie in huddled heaps amid the ungathered corn, amid the burnt ruins of villages, with their faithful horses stretched in death beside them. And this horrible thing has happened because the Belgians put their national honour above bribery, because they stood out against the mendacious, ferocious savages of Prussia, for the sanctity of treaties on which civilisation depends.
If anything more were needed to nerve the young men of the Empire to fight to the death against Germanic barbarism and tyranny, the sight of these dead heroes should alone suffice."

With the British Army in France

"The illustrations in this and the four following pages touch one of the most remarkable events in the whole range of British history - the landing of the British Expeditionary Army on the shores of France to join its forces with those of our cross-Channel allies in the supreme effort to rid Europe for ever of the evil root of armed insolence."

[Long sentences were obviously the order of the day in 1914!]

The British Army on the way to the War - How the Expeditionary Force landed in France

An Historic Moment - General French Lands at Boulogne

Some Camera Pictures of British Soldiers on French Soil

[The art of sub-editing and headline composition also had a long way to go]

United Ireland - A New Source of Strength to the Empire

Some Unusual Glimpses in the London Area

"Men who checkmate the lurking Teuton in our midst"

Some Homely Scenes in War-time England

Tsar's Master-stroke - Poland a Nation Again!

"The effect of the proclamation has been electrical."

Victories of the Great French Air Fleet

"Nothing - absolutely nothing - escapes the trained eyes of the observing officers."

Where the First Flame of War Was Lighted

Germany's Evil Genius and Some of the Kaiser's Men

Our Allies of the Far East Intervene

How The War Wages: The story of the great conflict told week by week

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Week 1 - Preparation, Submarines and the Defence of Liege

The British Dreadnought King George V

Why Britain Went to War

A clear Explanation of what we are fighting for
Expressly written for "THE WAR ILLUSTRATED"

H G Wells

"This Prussian Imperialism has been for forty years an intolerable nuisance in the earth. Ever since the crushing of the French in 1871 the evil thing has grown and cast its spreading shadow over Europe."

"Through this war we have to march, through pain, through agonies of the spirit wose than pain, through seas of blood and filth. We English have not had things kept from us. We know what war is; we have no delusions. We have read books that tell us of the stench of battlefields, and the nature of wounds, books that Germany suppressed and hid from her people. And we face these horrors to make an end of them"

Britain Prepares Against the Teutonic Tyrant

Industrial England becomes an Armed Camp

Historic Words of Europe's Great Leaders in the Great War

Britain's New Army of Freedom

"Since Oliver Cromwell, by an appeal to the religious spirit of the Puritans, created, in his model army the finest engine of war in the modern world, our nation has never responded so quickly and sternly to an appeal from a commander as it has done to the call made by Lord Kitchener for the immediate creation of a new Army of Freedom. Our forefathers had to use the press-gangs, and recruit from every prison in the kingdom, in order to win Trafalgar and Waterloo. Now the flower of our young manhood was seen last week fighting in multitudes in friendly fashion outside the recruiting stations, in order to win the honour of being among the first to join the new army."

Tears and Laughter Mingle at Farewell

Germany's "War Lord" Dreams of Power

"The new heavy boots of the German infantry are crippling them"

"Hundreds and thousands of [German light cavalry] surrendered without a fight at Liege, because they were weakened by lack of food"

Glimpses of the German Army in the field

"Their men are not encouraged to use their individiality in the field"

The Hero of Belgium

The Steel-Capped forts of Liege in Action - Upsetting the Plan of the German Invaders

The Belgians' Gallant Defence of Liege

War's Grim Realities as seen in Belgium

"This graphic photo of actual war shows German cavalrymen near Vise, on their way to attack that town."

In the Field with the Soldier Citizens of the New France

"French foot-soldiers carrying a machine-gun, a weapon which has now proved to be terribly effective in stopping a charging mass of troops"

How the French Soldiers Set Out for the Front

First Encounter of Warship and Submarine

"Until the outbreak of this war it was widely believed, and even by one famous British admiral, that the terible submarine would vanquish the super-Dreadnought. The "deadliest thing that keeps the seas" was the picturesque phrase for the latest sea craft."

"The vessel is built in the form of a great fish of metal"

Woman's Healing Work Among the Wounded

The Coward Cruise of the Mighty "Goeben"

Mine-Laying in the North Sea Causes First Losses

Along the Fighting Front of the Great War

Peaceful Scenes Where the Tide of Battle Rolls

The Tide of War